By Joanna KIM
On July 22, the Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club will be holding a drive to collect backpacks for its annual Kases for Kids donation event. The event, held in partnership with the Los Angeles Dept. of Children and Family Services, will take place in the parking lot of the Ralphs market at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Raymond Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kases for Kids is a program in which backpacks, suitcases and other items are collected and then given to children moving into the foster care system. In many cases, these children carry their belongings in trash bags’ however, through Kases for Kids, the children are given more appropriate travel gear.
The drive on Saturday will also collect school supplies, toiletries and stuffed animals, which will be put into each backpack and suitcase.
As well as the backpacks and suitcases, the Lions Club welcomes donations of toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, soap, washcloths, conditioner, shampoo, combs, hairbrushes, tissues, note pads, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, highlighters, stuffed animals and blankets.
“After we have finished filling all [the backpacks and suitcases], we contact Lovette [Panthier-Gerst] at Children’s Services, and she sends out one of their vans to pick up the backpacks,” Connie Janson, the secretary of Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club, said.
The bags will then be taken to the Dept. of Children and Family Services to be distributed. The Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club has worked with the Dept. of Children & Family Services since 2011 organizing backpack drives. Over 240 suitcases and backpacks have been collected in previous years, and it is hoped that this year’s number will exceed that.
Aside from this collection event, the Crescenta-Cañada Lions Club has been involved in the Crescenta Valley Hometown Fair for the last five years and hosts an annual Student Speakers Contest, where the winner is awarded up to $21,000 in scholarships.
Anyone interested in joining the club must be 18 years or older and must be invested in volunteering for the community. Those interested can call Janson at (818) 249-1030 before attending the meetings, which are the first and third Wednesdays of each month, or email her at Crescenta-CanadaLions@outlook.com.